This is one of our semi-regular Dear Dude columns in which my real-life friend The Dude answers your questions about the hairier sex. Dear Dude is an industrial designer with a weakness for bikes, dogs, good food and smart ladies.
What are the best/worst things that a guy/girl can do on a first date?
Can’t get a 2nd Date
Ok – you asked for it!
Instead of drawing up two columns with the headings “best” and “worst”, I’ll just spout some nonsense about dating, all of which is my opinion alone, and not supported by anything other than my own personal experience. I imagine these things go for both men and women.
I don’t care if you think I am shallow for saying this, but look like your picture.
I can’t this stress enough – If you are online dating, please please please; as much for your sake as mine, please use current, un-retouched pictures. I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to meet the “cute” girl I chatted with twice online, in person; and she is clearly not as young, cute, fit, or clever as I was led to believe.
The fairytale ending does not exist when you lie. You will not get me to fall in love with your messages, your voice or the picture of you from high school where people told you you look “old for your age.” Embrace who you are and what you look like. Everyone is “trying to lose a few pounds.” Saying you “gained some weight this winter” is not an excuse to use photos from five years ago. This goes for guys too – yes, she will notice when you don’t look like your picture!
It is good and polite to show up on time or within 5-10 minutes
But don’t get too upset with him (or her) for being a bit late (just store it away in the date-a-base – “showed up late, -5 points.”) If you are perpetually late – say so. Be honest and avoid dumb excuses. “I left my house late and I didn’t account for traffic” is perfectly acceptable once or twice.
Don’t wear excessive makeup (or any at all, in my opinion)
I would rather be presented with a “less attractive,” unmade-up real “you” than the best mask Lancome or CoverGirl can create. I feel like using make-up is like a little lie. The more used, the bigger the lie. That said, If I can’t tell, I don’t know 😉
Avoid dinner and/or movie on the first date
A quick “get to know you” coffee or drink could save you both a lot of time and uncomfortable silence.
Drink something classy yet unpretentious and don’t get blotto
This should not need explanation.
Suggest going dutch if you get snacks or the drink bill isn’t split up
Unless he slurped down 5 beers for each of your one, don’t get hung up on money. If it was a good date, it should even out over several dates. If it wasn’t, consider it a “poor judgment tax.” I think the worst thing a date can do is assume you are covering the bill and never even offer.
*sidenote from Sarah: I will totally offer to split the bill on the first date, but if the guy makes significantly more money than I do, I think a gentleman would insist of paying the whole thing. Just my two cents.
Most importantly: relax, be yourself and don’t talk just to fill space
Acting too eager and excited can actually be a turn off to some. And acting ‘too cool for school’ can be a turn off, too. This first date is not everything – there are other guys (or girls) out there for you, aside from this person you hardly know.
Ask questions and pay attention. Smile and have fun! Try not to go into the date with notions about the person based on what (little) you know about them but remain pragmatic and watch for signs of incompatibly. Don’t be afraid of rejection, rejecting or admitting incompatibility; be honest (and sensitive) about it. Give your date a chance to be themselves by avoiding absolutes (“I never date men/women shorter than 5’10” – for example).
So there you go, the Dude’s Loose Guidelines To Dating.
As always, I welcome any additional “rules” or guidelines the readers have in the comments!